Achieving outstanding grades in A-level Dance is extremely challenging; particularly given the varied students who join the course with mixed practical dance backgrounds, and limited to no experience in written dance theory. Minimum expected grades are generally higher than other a-level subjects, and both component 1 and 2 pose many challenges; not only due to the sheer volume of content required to be covered on the specification and the complex range of optional elements to teach from, but the high level and variety of skills required of students to do well. This course will examine the skills needed for students to achieve Grades A/A* in A level Dance across both components. The course is face to face, and will include practical sessions in the morning.


  • Increase awareness of what teachers should aim to achieve with the most able Dance students
  • Gain the latest practical teaching approaches and activities that challenge A/A* students
  • Find out more about the different approaches to support students to gain an A*-B success; both in timetabled lessons and beyond set timetable hours
  • Work with examiners from both components to learn about how to maximise student success in every assessment
  • Explore challenges in supporting your high ability students in the current landscape
COURSE DATE Online | Wednesday 24 November 2021
London | Wednesday 16 February 2022
  • Heads of Performing Arts
  • Heads of Dance
  • Teachers of AQA A-level Dance
  • NQTs would also benefit from this course
IN-SCHOOL You can also book this as an In-School Course
  • A specially prepared folder of detailed notes, practical advice and guidance
  • Notes prepared by the educational experts leading the course
  • Expert produced PowerPoint presentations
  • CPD Certificate of attendance


10.00 – 10.15am: What does A-A* constitute in Dance, and the challenges in achieving this

  • A-A* in component 1 vs component 2- what might these look like?
  • Strategies to maximise students strengths in both components
  • The importance of building on their weaker component to ensure A-A* success, and strategies to achieve this
  • Motivation and resilience in context of disruption due to Coronavirus

10.15 – 11.15am: How are grades A/A* in the Solo and Quartet?

  • Feedback: looking back at exams: what went well? What did examiners look for at the top levels?
  • Missing out on the A/A* grades: Common mistakes and key issues
  • Balancing performance in a quartet and Performance in the style of chosen practitioner with able students
  • Exemplar solo and quartet work, with a focus on understanding the grading in relation to the highest marking criteria

11.:15 – 11.30am: Break

11.30 – 12.30pm: Developing A/A* Success in Group Choreography

  • Strategies to develop A/A* skillsets in your students, including independent learning and self-motivation
  • Utilising strengths within the practical questions; including consideration of how to pick the right question, selection of dancers and choreographic approaches
  • Teaching ideas using examples from past papers which work with A/A* students – from research, workshops, initial idea development, refinement and rehearsal
  • Sharing of practice: discussion of current structures with A/A* students i.e. grouping and rehearsal strategies, the value of a reflective log and processes of assessment and feedback to invoke improvement

12.30 – 1.00pm: Student and staff support strategies to maximise A*-A rates

  • Dealing with linearity; collaborative teaching strategies, creating appropriate assessment strategies and ideas for revision
  • Successful intervention and support strategies, including how to build an extra-curricular provision to boost your cohorts A*-A rate
  • Maintaining recruitment on a-level Dance
  • – 2.00pm: Lunch

2.00 – 3.00pm: Understanding Exam Technique and Marking in Component 2

  • Overview of different types of smaller mark questions, including how to approach different command words, length of student responses and common student pitfalls to ensure full marks can be achieved
  • Progressive teaching practice methods to teach the 25mark essay response
  • Example responses and marking tasks with feedback

3.00 – 3.15: afternoon break

3.15 – 3.45pm: Picking the right optional elements to facilitate A-A* grading in Component 2

  • Basic concepts of building a 2-year scheme of work to ensure maximum success of student outcomes, and building skills and concepts in a logical and linear manner
  • Exploring how Component 1 and Component 2 (section A and B) optional choices can complement success in both units

3.45 – 4.00pm: Networking, Questions and Depart

Toni Knight and Laura Bulless

Toni and Laura both teach at a highly successful 6th Form College, covering A-level Dance and BTEC Dance, and their department gained ‘National Teaching Team of the Year’ in Oct. 2019 at the Pearson National Teaching Awards hosted on the BBC. On taking on the leadership of the Dance provision, it has not only grown in size, with the cohort being one of the largest in the country for A-level, but most notably the course attainment has drastically improved; highlighted in 2019 by a 100% A*-B rate and a high ALPs grade 2 on A-level Dance with students from very mixed background. Toni and Laura both have experience of examining in both Component 1 and 2 of AQA A-level Dance.